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AIME mentoring 2
17 February, 2017

Mentoring for success across Australia

AARNet has teamed up with Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) to provide the high-speed broadband connectivity this innovative education program needs to strengthen and expand the services it offers Indigenous kids the length and breadth of Australia.

Indigenous kids participating in AIME’s program complete Year 12 at almost three times the national Indigenous average. Thanks to its Indigenous = success philosophy, this ground-breaking program is helping to close the gap in educational outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students.

AARNet CEO Chris Hancock says AARNet is committed to supporting innovation in education.

“AIME is an outstanding program that’s having a significant impact on improving the educational outcomes for Indigenous kids. We are delighted to provide connectivity that will enable the organisation to expand its reach and also leverage transformative digital technologies to improve the lives of more Indigenous children.”

In partnership with many of Australia’s universities, AIME recruits university students as mentors and connects them with Indigenous high school students. In 2015, 93.7% of AIME’s almost 5,000 mentees completed Year 12; a remarkable three times the national Indigenous average of 35.2%, and higher than the average non-Indigenous completion rate of 86.5%.

We talked to CEO, Jack Manning Bancroft, about AIME’s achievements and the role their newly upgraded connection to AARNet will play in their future work.

Your kids do better in terms of Year 12 attainment than non-Indigenous national average. Why is mentoring so successful?

“AIME creates a high expectations environment that gives the kids a chance to create a new narrative where Indigenous = success.

“If they are proud of their identity — see it as a reason for success and self-worth — then we give the kids the key to rising up. That key, in the modern game of life, is education. If they get a University degree, they will have the freedom of choice that so many people do not have.

“With the power of where their people have come from, the knowledge of generations of human life, they will have the skills, education, nuance and influence to change the outcomes of the generations that come after them.”

AIME has a particular focus on STEM. Why are STEM subjects important?

“Numerous indicators tell us that future economies and jobs are going to be require, and be driven by, STEM-intensive skill sets.

“With support from partners, we have developed program content targeted towards Years 7/8 that uses creative mediums to inspire an interest and understanding in the kids of the relevance of science and technology to understanding and participating in the modern world.

“One of the outputs of this work is an online game designed by Year 8 kids around the country that has STEM-based challenges disguised within an inter-school soccer tournament. It’s being designed as we speak and should launch in 2017.”

What role does reliable internet access play in your work?

“A massively critical one. With over 120 staff spread across nearly 20 offices, maintaining a sense of connectivity and collaboration is of the utmost importance to our work.

“From recruitment interviews online, to staff and mentor training, communication, internal and external meetings, content sharing and coaching: AIME would be a completely different beast without reliable internet.”

What will your AARNet connection help you do differently?

“Prior to our AARNet connection, AIME was plagued with dos-era upload and download speeds, drop-outs and unreliability, particularly in our Redfern, Sydney HQ.

“From an exec level down to the technicians who came to the site to get on the roof and do the reccy, AIME is incredibly grateful for the partnership with AARNet and what it has been able to deliver, thereby improving the services we are able to offer Indigenous kids around Australia.”

How do you see AIME using the internet to achieve its goals in 5 years’ time?

“For AIME, and the broader education community, improved internet capacity will definitely alter the traditional delivery models used by both the high-school and university sectors.

“The broad, emerging field of ‘e-learning’ and the emergence of new technologies like VR present various opportunities to creatively engage existing and newer audiences here, and globally.”

AARNet connects members of the education community from across the lifelong learning spectrum – universities, TAFEs, schools, galleries, libraries, archives and museums – and provides educators and students with a rich choice of teaching and learning experiences.

Find out more about AARNet